A woman involved in a theft ring that stretched across nine counties pleaded guilty in Delaware County Common Pleas Court Tuesday afternoon to charges of theft and money laundering.
Stevie Rea Henry, 26, of Marion, appeared before Judge Everett Krueger Tuesday afternoon and entered a guilty plea to two counts of theft, which are fifth-degree felonies, and one charge of money laundering, a third-degree felony.
A charge of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, which is a first-degree felony, was dropped as part of the plea agreement with prosecutors.
Another condition of the agreement is that Henry must testify against her seven co-defendants at their trial on Dec. 15.
Krueger accepted her guilty plea and scheduled a sentencing hearing for Jan. 25 at 11 a.m.
Henry told Krueger that the charges stem from an incident earlier this year when she went to Kroger in Mansfield, Ohio, filled up a shopping cart with candy and left the store without paying.
She said she went to Forest, Ohio, and sold the stolen candy to Phillip Roger Burkholder, 82, who then sold the stolen goods at auction.
Henry said the other theft charge stems from her attempted theft of fishing lures from a Wal-Mart in Mansfield. She was stopped by store employees.
Henry said she would give a cut of the money to Wendy Sue Emmons, 46, a suspected leader of the theft ring who is currently incarcerated at the Ohio Reformatory for Women. Henry said she would use the remaining money to buy drugs, specifically heroin.
Henry told Krueger she was arrested by Marion police before she was charged in the theft-ring case and has been clean and undergoing treatment for her drug addiction since.
Assistant county prosecuting attorney Douglas Dumolt said Henry has taken steps to get back custody of her son and said prosecutors would not be recommending a prison sentence, leaving the decision to Krueger. Dumolt added that he would be willing to recommend probation if Henry could take more positive steps before her sentencing.
Burkholder, Emmons and the other five defendants are still scheduled to stand trial on Dec. 15.
Prosecutors allege that the group stole from stores in Delaware, Crawford, Seneca, Richland, Marion, Franklin, Morrow, Hancock and Logan counties.